LCCMedia met Dr. Judi L Malone, nomination candidate Edmonton-Ellerslie Alberta NDP riding. She kindly agreed to send answers to the questions we sent. We hope this set of answers provides you with an insight into the warm and wonderful person she is.
Tell us about you
Growing up on a rural farm, with a parent working in Fort McMurray, friends and family in Cree communities, and later as a single parent working my way through school, I have long been aware of the inequities and struggles of Albertans working to give their children a better life. That spurred my passion for human rights and politics. I am the granddaughter of both immigrant and long-standing mixed culture Canadians and the wife of a man who gained his Canadian citizenship only eight years ago. I have a chronic health condition, as does my daughter, a university student.
Informed by these experiences, my passion for human rights and political advocacy grew! As a student and professional, I have been able to serve on volunteer boards of directors since I was 21 and have held academic and research roles. Most recently, I have had the privilege of being the CEO of the Psychologists Association of Alberta. All roles have allowed me to work with and for communities for our wellbeing. As an experienced Ph.D. level psychologist & leader in psychology, I have influenced decisions that matter in this province and dedicated my work to the psychological health of Albertans and fighting health disparities.
I have dedicated my professional life to improving the psychological health of Albertans and fighting health disparities. As a practicing clinical psychologist for over two decades, I understand both the strengths and needs of Alberta families. Currently, I am the CEO of the Psychologists’ Association of Alberta. Recognized as a pivotal leader, I am a passionate advocate for timely access to professional mental health services regardless of income.
My journey has taught me that support for ALL Albertans to live their best lives as attainable. I want to use my energy and knowledge to energize and strengthen our province with good jobs, good schools, and public solid healthcare that includes our mental health.
Why politics? Why did you choose the NDP as your platform? Or did they choose you?
After two decades as a health leader, I knew it was my time to step into servant leadership for the people of Alberta. The last few years – cuts to education, health, and post-secondaries – showed me that the time is now.
I am a proud member of The New Democratic Party because the NDP is known to fight for all Albertans to create a province that is more progressive, sustainable, and where no one is left behind. The NDP recognizes that a diverse economy and support for ALL Albertans to live their best lives is attainable. My journey has taught me that it is possible.
I want to be part of the difference that will energize and strengthen our province and assist Albertans in thriving with good jobs, good schools, and strong public healthcare that balances our physical health needs and mental health.
I have much in common with Edmonton-Ellerslie community members and NDP supporters, who believe in the potential for positive change. We benefit from living in a democracy, and nothing speaks to democracy like voice, choice, and becoming involved. Candidacy races help Albertans clarify what we want, what we believe in, and what kind of future we want to see in our community. I am intrigued by why more people don’t step up and become involved.
Relationships and collaborative working are high on your agenda- why is this so important?
In leadership, relationships matter most. As a leader, I have learned that the greatest achievements for all come from mastering relationships. This allows us to build trust and create collaborative environments with diverse people and opinions that foster real change. Leaders must have knowledge and skills, but that is insufficient – we must also maximize and leverage relationships to support change and efficiently achieve goals.
Leadership is a two-way street, and politics is servant leadership – born in diversity and conflict with the goals of cooperation and collective work for all. Your elected official is someone committed to working with you to get things done for everyone.
How are you prepared for the mandate you are seeking?
I have a proven track record of influencing positive decisions that matter to Albertans and as a health leader. If I am elected to represent Edmonton Ellerslie as their MLA, I will be the voice of change. I will commit myself totally as a passionate advocate of mental health support, diversity, the underserved, and our constituency members. I am unrelenting in my passion to represent those I serve. After over a decade of direct advocacy with provincial and municipal governments, I know I am ready for this challenge.
I have had the privilege of being the CEO of the Psychologists Association of Alberta since 2016. In this role, I have passionately taken the lead in disseminating information and tools based on the latest research on wellbeing. I have learned about the first-hand impacts of the pandemic on Albertans. I have supported and advocated for health system improvements, including increased access to psychologists. I want to bring this same passion to hearing your concerns and advocate to improve the wellness of the people in Ellerslie. I am unrelenting in my passion to represent the people.
What are your climate priorities?
We have the right – and a need – for a healthy, sustainable environment. Our air, land, and water are irreplaceable and must be preserved and enhanced. Personally, Alberta’s lakes and rivers are core to my quality of life and bring me peace. Protecting those is essential but needs to be part of a careful plan that sets the stage for greener economic opportunities.
Would you say that public health care in Edmonton is a mess?
Strong public healthcare is critical, and intervention needs to happen when it is needed. The stress in our healthcare system is at an all-time high with critical staff shortages. I hear the pressures of families and children and from our health care professionals (and heroes). We can collaborate with our healthcare providers to not just support them following this difficult time but also to empower solutions to ensure timely support and access to quality healthcare accessible to all.
What is bringing into the race that the other candidates don’t have?
An experienced PhD-level psychologist & leader in psychology, I have influenced decisions that matter in this province and dedicated my work to the psychological health of Albertans and fighting health disparities.
I have served on volunteer boards of directors since I was 21, held academic and research roles, and have had the privilege of being the CEO of the Psychologists Association of Alberta – all roles that have allowed me to work with and for communities for our wellbeing. I have devoted over two decades to mental health, begins with a rural clinical practice. Psychology and politics are interlinked – leadership for a healthy society benefits us all.
Can you describe the Edmonton you see?
There is potential for positive change that will benefit everyone. That includes taking care of those who take care of others. As a society, we need to take care of our neighbours in public service who take care of us — educators, health care workers, childcare providers, transportation workers, first responders, and all those Albertans providing essential services. I see an Edmonton (and Alberta) with elected officials who are committed to working together with the people to get things done for everyone.
What are your priorities for your constituency?
Ellerslie is a home I am proud to share with a diverse and growing set of neighbours, businesses, and neighbourhoods. I will bring my decade of direct government advocacy experience to our community. The top priorities are accessible quality public healthcare, a strong education system with a modern, inclusive curriculum, affordable post-secondary, and, of course, accessible mental health care.
It would be an honour and a privilege to be the NDP candidate for Edmonton Ellerslie, and that is not something I would do without ongoing community consultation. I am excited by the prospect of a continuous youth council and community engagement in the issues that matter.
Businesses need support to get going after the pandemic. What will you do for businesses?
Small business is a big deal in Alberta – from jobs to economic growth! When we support Alberta entrepreneurs, we build the backbone of our province and support a real ‘Alberta advantage’ that goes beyond the GDP to provide jobs, pride and build communities. I have operated my private practice for over two decades and know the difference that knowledgeable support makes for the small business owner. Support makes a difference, ranging from providing information and skills support to self-sustaining grants.
Homelessness and drug addiction are big problems for Edmonton and your ward. What are your strategies to solve these problems?
As a student, I struggled to eat after paying rent. Is that what we should expect in a wealthy province? There is a critical need for affordable housing, especially as our economy grows. And it is caring communities that come together in the service of the most vulnerable – which makes us all stronger.
People who are homeless are more likely to struggle with substance use issues and are a diverse group, but most are single mothers. The issues are almost always a combination of lack of affordable housing, low incomes, family violence, and a critical shortage of mental health and addictions supports. Those are social issues and ones with clear solutions. Keep Alberta families above the poverty line. Ensure access to safe, affordable housing and necessary social and mental health supports.
Do you have time to read at all? May I ask what books are on your night table?
I’ve always loved reading and was working my way through a historical review of St. Paul de Metis (where I was raised) but since the campaign launched, I have been reading almost exclusively political, economic, and health care reviews and books. With my busy schedule, I have a newfound appreciation for audiobooks!
What do you do for your mental health?
One of the benefits of being a clinical psychologist are the daily reminders of the value of our psychological health. My personal strength comes not just from this awareness but from my own actions. I love fun with family and friends, particularly when laughter is involved, and I am lucky to have a very large and close family to spend time with. My husband and I love to dance salsa. Water brings me peace, and so I love to spend time near lakes or rivers. And now, it’s. almost time for gardening with flowers!
“I believe in the potential for positive change. We benefit from living in a democracy, and nothing speaks to democracy like voice, choice, and becoming involved. I encourage everyone to get your Alberta NDP membership, assess the candidates, and vote”.